Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Re-post: The failing 'Pro-Life' movement.

 {Given I am far-from able at present [time & health restrictions] to write any lengthy response regarding recent online appeals promoting provenly-failed Incrementalist strategies I feel I must repost this argument again...with ONE ADDITION

THE MISREPRESENTATION [ok..let's be honest...let's call it a lie]
...that Incrementalism has succeeded in the US - it hasn't!
That the negotiating compromise/exception dialogue proved fruitful and they achieved in getting part of the loaf and residual breadcrumbs where absolutism would have failed - it didn't!

Let's make this clear - it hasn't - it didn't - it never did and it NEVER WILL.

What HAS succeeded is the ABOLITIONIST STRATEGY where the opposing pro-abortion side has tried political appeasement against a powerful unswerving abolitionist force - they have increasingly 'thrown compromising life-saving "bones"' in a vainglorious attempt to thwart, placate or delay the unswervable solidaritist absolutist, abolitionist position. They have given in to power and made changes...where cowardly Incrementalist attempts to 'negotiate/deal broker' failed...
Abolitionists HAVE CHIPPED AWAY at this murderous legislation...and achieved what Incrementalists have spent over forty years unsuccessfuly attempting to do....
But the only way they gained any success..was by NOT BEING INCREMENTALISTS who ludicrously went to the negotiating table with the farcical 'willing to compromise' agenda...

Ok - back to the repost:

Austin Ruse, President of C-FAM, recently wrote an article for Crisis Magazine "Lord, Save us From the Purists" 

Now I won't go into details of the 2002 Irish referendum [despite its misrepresentation by Mr Ruse [e.g. a Yes vote would have ratified the 2001 government-endorsed but constitutionally illegal dispensation of the Morning After Pill]...and we cannot buy the lives of the unborn saved by tying up the threatening suicide loophole if the cost is the lives of the unimplanted unborn]...

Nor will I engage with the far-from-impartial character assassination of Dana and SPUC's John Smeaton [Mr Ruse can of course confirm or deny, but I highly suspect he was fed a certain version of events by a hostile third party with an axe to grind]
Nor will I yet argue about the authentic Catholic position in regard to the referendum [more later]; irrespective of what Church representatives or self-declared 'Professional Expert' Catholic commentators/academics may have opined at the time.

 But what I will attack is not so much his appeal to utilitarian Calculus like some modern day Caiaphas in that morality resides in the number-crunching and we can sell out the few to save the many. The Principle of Solidarity is a crucial fundamental principle in Catholic teaching - inherent in the Gospels and Papal teaching..but somehow when it comes to 'practical ethics' we can apply anti-Catholic incrementalist 'deals with the devil'....

 ..but more that he actually condemns those who declare the principle of Solidarity [i.e.  No Exceptions: No Compromises] in being pharisaically culpable in the deaths of lives which could have been potentially saved had we brokered a deal which would distinguish between protecting certain types of the unborn and allowing others [e.g. the unimplanted, the mentally/physically handicapped, those conceived by incest or rape] to be murdered...

So to go through all this again I republish my previous Pro-Solidarity/Solidaritist arguments.

"Every few years the tired, old refrain to reduce the upper time-limit for social abortions is heard. These calls have either gotten nowhere or, as in 1990, been counter-productive. There is no realistic prospect of any such amendments being passed by the current Parliament, any more than in 2008 when Nadine Dorries's amendments were defeated by large margins.
"Opening up the Abortion Act on the floor of Parliament will provide an opportunity for the large pro-abortion majority in Parliament to push for radical amendments to make abortion law even worse. The pro-abortion lobby will argue that early abortions are better than late abortions, and therefore that women need easier access to abortion. Such amendments have the support of David Cameron and many other frontbenchers from all the main parties.
"We need a fresh perspective on what can be done to save unborn children. Mrs Miller should instead be pushing for the government to stop its multi-million pound funding arrangements with the abortion industry, and to block broadcast advertising for abortion businesses. The government should also stop funding the promotion of abortion in developing countries and promoting access to abortion for children in school" 
[Anthony Ozimic of SPUC 4/10/12 - in response to the recent media-hype over Politicians repeating their positions on abortion-limit reductions ]

A few months ago Francis Phillips followed up on her Book Review of Colin Harte's Changing Unjust Laws Justly: Pro-life Solidarity with the Last and Least
with a Catholic Herald post in Memorial of recently-deceased March for Life foundress Nellie Gray - whose
unswerving message of Harteist Solidarity "No Exceptions:No Compromises" is explained in this EWTN interview:

Incrementalism vs Solidaritism is the major bone of contention among Pro-Lifers at present.
The argument was exemplified by the Anscombe Centre's debate between John Finnis & Colin Harte [published in the Linacre Centre book: "Co-operation, Complicity & Conscience"]

Unfortunately it's not online but
the arguments are discussed by James Hanink in his Essay "Abortion, Prudence & Solidarity"

According to some present at the debate, Finnis 'unequivocally trounced' Harte;
but I'm inclined to believe rhetorical skills and wishful thinking might contribute more to that paradigm than the veracity and moral strength of the arguments.

I firmly believe Colin Harte's position to be the correct one - it's the only viable, authentically fundamentally moral position to take; lest we enter the realms of preference utilitarianism and the Caiaphas corrolary [while fallaciously/self-deludely appealing to a teleology of virtue ethics]

We argue life begins at conception - so what's the ontological/teleological difference between a child before & a child after any arbitrary abortion limit?

What is the difference in worth & dignity between a normative physically/mentally able child and one who is debilitated in some way?

Ditto one wrought out of sexual pleasure or one conceived from a nightmare violation.

Two people are hanging from a cliff on a single rope; one lower than the other - the rope might give way and kill both...
If the lower cuts the rope to save the life of the upper we consider it a virtuous act of martyrdom.
But what if the upper cuts the rope and the lower falls to their death?
Is a pregnant mother analogous to the upper or lower person?

Is it morally justifiable that the law says the mother is always in the upper position?
Is any jurisdiction regarding abortion restriction a 'rescue' or the re-signing of 'death warrants' [albeit potentially fewer] ?

Is it that if we vote for that reduction law we decree that there are now two distinct types of human being - the killable and the unkillable?

Supposing you're a clinician on an intensive care ward?
Five teenage patients have an incurable brain condition and will each die within a year..
Another patient is a child days away from death on a heart machine, respirator, dialysis and all manner of chemical procedures - they need a new heart, lungs, liver, pancreas & kidneys...given those by organ transplant the child could live another 80/90 years? They are avaliable if one exercises an expedient demise of the other five patients?

In another intensive care ward there's a man with locked in syndrome who is being treated for pneumonia but is rapidly recovering - all his organs are perfectly functioning - which is more than can be said for the five other patients in the ward.. one needs a heart, another lungs..etc etc You get the picture?
Do numbers matter in making the choice?

Or is it a choice we can never morally make?

There's an  old ethical dilemma of the explorer who visits a native tribe & is declared an honoured guest at a sacred festival to celebrate the end of a war against a neighbouring tribe and their enslavement - on this day the guest of honour must sacrifice the imprisoned enemy chieftain to the gods and the 99 other prisoners will be released...but if he does not kill the enemy chief all 100 of the prisoners must be executed to placate the gods - angered at the guest's sacrilege...?
Numbers again - and the chieftain would die anyway no matter what choice you make - so is it right for the explorer to kill him!??

Finnis is arguing one is morally obliged to kill that chieftain ; there is an opportunity to rescue 99 - you MUST kill that's not your fault he's going to die anyway so it might as well be at your hands because in the process you rescue the 99.

Harte is saying 'the Chieftain is a good man, a man innocent of any crime and is only in this situation through circumstance and no fault of his own - I will not kill him - no matter what the price - the price of my soul is too high! This festival custom is evil - and if I participate how many more will die when this tribe move onward and outward to enemy villages and perform the same ritual?

Finnis is telling everyone "it's all right to be a Caiaphas" because the lessening of a moral evil is in the number crunching...some injustice is better than total injustice..

Harte is telling everyone "We must say no" - because we're all in this together and we sink or swim together - but not one of us will be left behind - at any price - for such a price is always too high - let Heaven and earth perish but let right be done...

Crassus has made the offer - so do you hand over Spartacus or do you stand up and say "I'm Spartacus"?
...of course there's the issue that we're not the ones getting killed
But think of it this way:

Proponents of IVF argue that people who could never have previously existed now walk among us
...all it took was making [and destroying] significantly more siblings [whom would have never existed anyway]
...isn't it a price worth paying to bring forth another person into reality?

So what's the perspective of that IVF child?
That they're a miracle?

Or that they're a simple victim of fate in a game of in-vitro-russian roullette - they could just as easily have been the embryo being washed away down the happened to all their siblings?

Do they feel it's a price worth paying or a price too high?
What of the corresponding legislation that permitted a society to do this?
How very different is it from abortion restriction?
Complicated isn't it...
So why does Finnis say the issue is no longer debatable?

Evangelium Vitae 73.3 according to his definition - is the end of the matter - we are allowed to co-operate as this form of co-operation is material and remote ?

Whereas to Colin Harte EV 73.2 is the Crux of the issue - and as any vote which permits abortion is intrinsically unjust any co-operation with it is forbidden formal or proximate material co-operation. 

There are also a few further issues to contest in the claims of the gradualists/incrementalists arguments:

One is "Does a reduction in the abortion limit actually produce fewer abortions?"
It might seem obvious that it does - but is it?

Is there not more chance of early term abortion being so socio-culturally sanitising  and anaesthetising [i.e less gruesome and barbaric] that it makes it more 'clinical' and publicly acceptable and ironically contributes to abortion's furtherance?

Is there not more chance of a mother rushing into a hasty decision to abort at an earlier limit when a discretionary period of time [plus the child making its presence felt] might make the mother hesitate?
...and as incrementalism concedes a willingness to negotiate exemptions over certain 'types of unborn' in order save a greater amount of other 'types'...
..who is to say that if - hypothetically speaking - abortion was only made available in the case of rape - does anyone not believe that we should experience an exponential rise in the amount of claims of rape perpetrated by persons unknown?

In countries where abortion is only permissible if continuing with pregnancy risks the life of the mother there are a few tricks a mother may use to feign illness to hoodwink a clinician [the anecdotally famous one being the handful of amphetamine slimming pills and inhaling amyl nitrate to produce artificial lethal-symptoms of hypertension]

Is an incrementalist strategy - even if it were somewhat successful - effective in reducing the total amount of abortions?
Or is it simply limiting the amount of choices in widely varied readily available options to gain an abortion - thus having virtually no productive effect whatsoever?
These may be debatable issues - but they are certainly not as cut-and-dried as the incrementalists would have us believe....

Paying an immoral price for a 'greater good' might be grounds for mitigation - but to do a deal with the devil and then discover it had no benefits at all and abortions continued unabated - or the deal even aggravated the situation?
It would be farcical and devastatingly tragic.

It's a tough quandary:
Do we save every life we possibly can at any price?
If the price is the life of another of our neighbours?
That price is always too high!
...and Nellie Gray is right - once we make any indication we are open to compromise?
We lose!

Once we attempt to move from one pro-choice group to another brokering deals for the best 'bargain'
The past 45years of the most deplorable, tragic, genocidal faiure has proved that any deal is not worth the paper upon which it is written ; the verbal agreements are always reneged upon when the 'deals' reach the floor of Parliament.

Remember the farce of 1990? Where a reduction from 28** to 24 weeks actually led to virtaul abortion on demand up to birth for all those conceived via rape & incest and any with even minor physical defects or were of any detrimental physical or psychological harm to the mother?

 The result is we have virtual abortion on demand - a mother need only claim and be diagnosed with 'adequate' mental distress and an abortion may proceed up to birth.
[and lets not forget those with Downs syndrome who suffer from a cardiac condition or duodenal atresia - easily treatable ailments - may be left to die without this treatment - their nutrition and fluids removed until they suffer an excruciating death]

It wasn't merely the 'culture of death' which perpetrated this eugenic genocide of the disabled.

Conspiring in this by omission, silence and some twisted ideological appeal to a 'double effect' [which was no such thing]
..were pro-Lifers desperate to reduce the abortion limit.

They adopted a form of utilitarian calculus - the benefit was a reduction of four weeks - the price?  voting for that bill which included abortion to birth for the disabled or those who were 'psychologically damaging' to the mother...

Now Finnis contends that when part of that life-saving loaf is offered you MUST grab it and save any life you can...
You are neither responsible nor culpable for those who will be aborted up to that new lower time limit, nor are you responsible for the grave evils perpetrated against those exempt from the brokered deal - that blame lies solely in those of ill will who created that policy...
Instead you are to be commended for saving the lives of those non-disabled who would have been aborted between 24 & 28** weeks.

Now we have a moral duty to analyse what happened:
a] What abortions have been stopped by the reduction to 24 weeks from 28**?
b] What was the moral price and the cost in lives of 'negotiation' which left behind the disabled and those causing physical or psychological 'damage' to the mother?
c] What is the effect of this strategy - NOT the tactics - it's a strategy which automatically offers to negotiate; in other words it is fluid and pragmatic.

[** 28 weeks was NOT actually the previous legal abortion limit - this was never statutory and merely presumptive]

History reveals to us that Power only negotiates with another Power. It does not negotiate with the weak - and an opening gambit of negotiation indicates weakness, folly and an abrogation of the power one possesses.

Only by a wall of unreserved solidarity - no exceptions:no compromise - i.e. a position of power with a consolidated public will...
[and I'll concede for that to occur we'll need the National Church to get its Pro-Life act together - the past few decades have been scandalous in its negligence and dereliction of responsibility - especially from Our Apostles & their quangocrat delegates]

...can we even begin to hope that we can influence the opposing side into even considering negotiation.
Now what's even more ludicrous than this situation
are the recent comments from online Incrementalists who are DENYING negotiation is part of the incrementalist/gradualist strategy?!!!

Now one may argue the benefits/detriments of the Finnis position all one wishes - but for those who argue for Finnis while refusing to concede the strategy & tactics it axiomatically demands is indicative of either delusional sincerity or mendacious incompetence.

I repeat this is NOT merely an argument over tactics
[history has revealed that strategic absolutists or solidaritists can have utterly counterproductive belligerently antagonistic tactics [one of the major complaints made by incrementalists against SPUC] and fail dismally in the process by alienating all sides [including their natural supporters]]

This is a deeper issue - one of moral solidarity - a house built on rock... and that involves a strategy evoked by a fundamental moral principle.
Many incrementalists have adopted 'effective' tactics in affability, sincerity, appeals to metanoia and an overriding gentleness - but this is utterly futile when combined with a strategy of protean mutability subsumed in pragmatic relativism.
A position of strength - which will gather hearts and minds
is one of unswerving truth and unassuageable authenticity and sincerity - that is only to be found within the solidaritist position.
...and from this position of true strength will come the gentleness of the firm resolve...
...with the correct strategy we can adopt the correct tactics of moral conversion/coercion and educational metanoia - not treating the Pro-Choicer as the enemy - they are rather the patient and the victim - poisoned by the lies and chaos the enemy has wrought...

Now in this historical case even most incrementalists will now concede that the 1990 Alton Bill and the subsequenct Commons fiasco was a price too high...
..but nevertheless the same 'negotiate/compromise/deal-broker' mindframe exists where any chance to grasp that piece of the loaf MUST be seized...
...and this is where Colin Harte, Nellie Gray, Francis Phillips, SPUC and all solidaritists [including myself]...
...argue NO!
Not only is it a repeatedly proven failed strategy - it's moreso a gravely immoral one.
There are prices we cannot - MUST NOT - pay...
...and this isn't an appeal to, as someone contemptuously dismissed it ; an 'ideological purity'...
[ye gods! stating that no unborn child should be left behind or be considered less worthy than another is derided as if we were arguing over angels on pinheads rather than life or death?!]
...nor is it [as someone fallaciously opined] 'squandering lives in the process'

One might contentiously retort 'how many lives have been squandered by a repeatedly doomed and failing incrementalist strategy and a contumacious recalcitrance in considering any other strategy?'

And I'm sorry but it is cognitively dissonant to claim that negotiation & compromise regarding the fate of unborn lives are not part of incrementalism.
They are!

Rather than chipping away at the culture of death there is a chipping away at one's conscience with toxic preference utilitarianism, pragmatism, situationism and relativism.
When one begins to ask 'what price a human life?' one should instead be asking 'what price my soul?'

In February in a lengthy Twitter diatribe the Colin Harte/Nellie Gray Solidaritist position was condemned outright as 'unconscionable'  by an, I suppose, leading [non-SPUC] Pro-Life activist and Catholic media spokesperson...
If those at the front line in the 'fight' against the culture of death can be so incredulously, defiantly, belligerently wrong?
We're sunk!
Until grassroots Catholicism starts listening to voices Like Colin's, Nellie's & Francis's and tells those allegedly speaking for them...
Our Pro-Life activists and lobbyists need to follow the suit of SPUC, concede their present strategy is an abject proven failure and realise a volte-face on incrementalism to solidaritism is now imperative....
This is a war - and we're not merely losing each battle - we've lost ground at every attempt we've made.

We need to ask ourselves why?
Colin Harte, Nellie Gray, James Hanink, Mrs Phillips and finally SPUC are giving us an answer and a prospective strategy to move forward and start saving the lives that are there to be saved...

I beg..
with those Pro-Lifers who are defiantly Incrementalist to reconsider their position and to now, at this eleventh hour - turn to Solidarity with all the unborn and fight for each and every one...not one to be left compromises...
Don't let reticence to admit past mistakes get in the way of doing the right thing now...

One cannot claim to believe one thing and then justify an action which exemplifies the direct opposite.
The claim of  'making political concessions' is quite misleading because it implies we have something - anything - with which we can authentically bargain or 'trade off'...


So the claim that we have anything other than a collective moral will reinforced with public support which provokes concessions from the opposing side... automatically negated.
I understand the argument that half a loaf is better than nothing - and on paper it looks meaningful and common-sensical and the practical approach.
But it implies we're involved in something akin to trade-negotiations or arguing conditions for a peace treaty...

We're not!
We're abolitionists - and there's little point lying about it.

Which is why it's ludicrous when we have Catholic politicians [or media commentators] claiming to be Pro-Life when they aren't.

e.g. they excuse abortion when the mother's life is at risk [and lie about it - claiming it's acceptable under the conditions of double effect {the usual intellectual sleight involves extrapolating double-effect principles in ectopic pregnancy to the womb}] ; or they agree with the right to abort in cases of rape or incest; or they equivocate away eugenic abortions or the destruction of life in IVF...

My message to them is
"Stop lying: Stop claiming to be Pro-Life when you aren't - and get out of our way"

Now the usual response to this message is
"How dare anyone accuse anyone else of not being Pro-Life 'enough' or accuse them of being Pro-Life-lite? - especially when they are a fellow Catholic or someone who has dedicated and sacrificed themselves for the Pro-Life cause!!"

My response is that if you are willing to adopt the Caiaphas principle that some human lives are worth more than others  or can be sold to buy others, that some of our neighbours can be left behind if it benefits other anything which opposes the Solidaritist principle...
Then I'm sorry - but you're not Pro-Life - you're actually Pro-Choice-in-denial.

Finally on this issue - one 'blogger' has argued that the Pro-Life cause is winning the battle over hearts and minds because scanning innovations like 4D imaging is repudiating the Pro-abortionist claims that a foetus below the abortion limit is little more than 'tissue' of slightly more moral equivalence than to a kidney stone...

In other words public opinion is gradually moving towards a reduction in the abortion limit based on seeing a mini-human smiling, sucking their thumb etc.

In this scenario an incrementalist strategic position MAY have some validity...

But unfortunately the poster's understanding of contemporary Pro-Abortion strategy is both limited and anachronistic...
Being fully aware of the risks of foetal images appealing to public heartstrings and challenging heretofore denial of the humanity of a foetus...
'Pro-Choice' lobbyists, activists, academics and polemicists are moving away from the foetal development arguments to justify their position.
Rather they are resorting to ideological arguments primarily involving philosophical notions of 'personhood' & secondarily 'human rights'.

Now the first of these arguments is another issue for another time
But when it comes to appeals to Human rights it branches off into two forms - the first of these being the traditional feminist Jarvis-Thompson 'libertarian-autonomy-right to remove a parasite' paradigm with which we are all familiar. A woman's rights over her own body
superseding and countermanding any other claim.

There is a new secondary appeal to human rights [which is ironically older than the feminist one - except it previously had a less congenial name]

"The Right to Foetal Dignity"

Now this principle has been pervading the halls of ethical academe for
over a generation but it's slowly inveigling its way into the public
forum - and is going to be a significant weapon used by the pro-abortion
activists to argue for the elimination of those children who would be
born deprived of these rights.... be born free be born healthy be born into a safe and secure environment be born wanted be born with all the mental and physical capabilities to engage in
personal development/flourishment comparative with one's peers

Do you see the irony?

This so called agenda for rights of the unborn is actually a eugenicist's manifesto!

Pro-Choice activists are slowly realising that biological equivocation
and mendacity regarding foetal devlopment is rapidly being disproven via
4d imaging etc.
That in this realm of 'battle for rights' the so-far predominant
overriding rights of the woman to self-determination regarding her own
body MIGHT lead to potential legal appeals to rights of post viability
and ultimately post self-reflective sentience within the foetus
countermanding a 'woman's rights'....

So the next strategy will be the above 'right to dignity for the unborn'.
One already witnesses it more in the increasing removal of new-born
children from drug addicted, homeless, mentally unstable or 'unfit'
One can see it that one of the first policies of the west when it comes
to areas of armed conflict in the developing world is to immediately
send in the mobile abortuaries... 

The 'moral arguments' will move from aborting for our own benefit
towards the mephistopheleanly mendacious aborting for their own
The prevailing mantra will become

"Nobody would be want to be born unwanted by their parents, or into
financial hardship, or the insecurity of war, ill-health or mental

Move further along this slippery slope and an extension of this paradigm will rapidly become  a mandate for
only certain individuals being deemed fit by the state to have
children...with abortion becoming mandatory for those not fitting that
criteria. [We have already witnessed enforced abortions occurring within
the remit of the Mental Capacity Act [2005] ]

Now how does the Incrementalist Pro-Life strategy which is grounded on a foetal development/ abortion limit reduction deal with this new principal strategy of the Pro-Abortion lobby?

Answer: It Can't!

It's neither grounded in nor designed to address the philosophical principles involved on this new battlefront.
But Solidaritism IS!

So not only was Incrementalism questionable in the previous situation where the fight was over time this new arena of human rights  an Incrementalist strategy is utterly untenable and an exercise in futility

The Pro-Abortion lobby wishes to move the goalposts, change the arguments and appeal to human rights...

Only Solidaritism can even begin to counter this
...for incrementalism was designed around redressing a fight dealing with the abortion limit and arguments-of-circumstance justifying abortion.

To even consider using an incrementalist strategy against appeals to human rights or appeals to personhood would be akin to attempting open-heart surgery with a spanner.

Solidaritism is an all-purpose universal strategy.

Perhaps because it involves no moral compromise?

How does prudence shape solidarity? 
Not by forsaking it.

From Colin Harte's  "Changing Unjust Laws Justly"

a] Legislation to restrict abortion does not merely 'save some lives' but always excludes from protection some unborn children who are entitled to protection; furthermore those who are normatively left unprotected by such legislation are the weaker and more vulnerable.

b] Restrictive abortion legislation and Incrementalist campaigning for such restrictions distorts the truth of the Pro-Life perspective of every innocent human being absolutely equal to all others and before that moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of life of an innocent human being there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone.

c] Those unborn children excluded from protection by restrictive legislation are further marginalised by both the campaign for the legislation and the law's enactment.

Veritatis Splendor

97. ... The fundamental moral rules of social life thus entail specific demands to which both public authorities and citizens are required to pay heed. Even though intentions may sometimes be good, and circumstances frequently difficult, civil authorities and particular individuals never have authority to violate the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. In the end, only a morality which acknowledges certain norms as valid always and for everyone, with no exception, can guarantee the ethical foundation of social coexistence, both on the national and international levels.

Evangelium Vitae

57.If such great care must be taken to respect every life,...

..."You shall not kill" has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenceless human beings, who find their ultimate defence against the arrogance and caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God's commandment.
In effect, the absolute inviolability of innocent human life is a moral truth clearly taught by Sacred Scripture, constantly upheld in the Church's Tradition and consistently proposed by her Magisterium. This consistent teaching is the evident result of that "supernatural sense of the faith" which, inspired and sustained by the Holy Spirit, safeguards the People of God from error when "it shows universal agreement in matters of faith and morals".49
Faced with the progressive weakening in individual consciences and in society of the sense of the absolute and grave moral illicitness of the direct taking of all innocent human life, especially at its beginning and at its end, the Church's Magisterium has spoken out with increasing frequency in defence of the sacredness and inviolability of human life....

... The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo,...

... As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being "there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the ?poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal".53

From James Hanink's "Abortion, Prudence & Solidarity"

Thus “the emergency argument” comes to mind.

1. In an emergency, one ought to save as many lives as possible.
2. The abortion license is an emergency.
3. So legislators ought to vote in a way that saves as many pre-born babies
as possible.
4. Sometimes a restrictive proposal that excludes the disabled from
protection is a means for saving as many pre-born babies as possible.
5. So legislators ought to vote for such a proposal.

Indeed, John Finnis holds that there is a duty to do so.

But is “the emergency argument” sound?

Colin Harte reminds us of the old axiom “Women and children first!” Look first to the vulnerable.
But the most vulnerable in our context are the disabled, expressly excluded because some hold them of less value. (Britain, for example, aborts over 90 percent of its unborn babies with spina bifida or Down syndrome.)

There is also a distinction between rescuing lives in an emergency for
which one is not responsible and rescuing lives in an emergency for which
one is wholly or in part responsible. Natural disasters give rise to emergencies,
but rescuers can neither enact nor repeal the laws of nature. Protest
is pointless. Nor are rescuers responsible for emergencies which others,
with whom they have no bond, cause by negligence or with malice. Yet
democratic legislatures, acting in concert, do enact and repeal laws. To
protest legislative wrongs can be efficacious, sometimes more so than
reform from within.  

Sustained resistance and civil disobedience can
overturn a regime that forsakes those for whom it has the greatest
responsibility. Lawmakers, thus, bear a continuing responsibility for the abortion license.The best legislative response to the state-supported killing of the innocent is to end it or, at least, to refuse recognition of it. A legislature can’t divert an earthquake. But it can protect the least little ones, including the disabled among them. Not to do so is to betray the solidarity required by the law’s raison d’être: to secure the common good. How, then, can one
take part in a legislative act that is in contempt of the law’s purpose?

Any law has its first authority, its moral power, from God.
If God’s power is chiefly manifest in mercy, might
not the legislator think that his or her authority, i.e., moral power, is also
chiefly manifest in mercy? Some distinctions are in order. What is at issue
is not a mercy shown to the guilty. The disabled victims of abortion are
innocent. It is rather a mercy shown to those whose lives others have
wrongly made forfeit; and at the legislative level, public mercy stands
vigilant against private breeches of solidarity.
Incrementalism seldom lacks support. But the Christian legislator
might well think that when both innocent life and the foundation of law are
at stake, what we most need are actions which look to the final end itself.
Yet no act is wiser, or more powerful, than an act of mercy. None is more
ordered to the common good.  
Might not the Christian legislator, committed
to the common good, best show mercy by insisting that restrictive abortion bills do not exclude from protection the least little ones, those who are disabled or the victims of a special malice?.

For Further Reading Try Michael Baker on 


& CumLazaro's Blog 

& Luke Gormally sadly endorses the Finnis Incrementalist position [another position on which we categorically disagree [e.g. an hiv+ rapist using a condom is more sinful using one; condemning the nun offering surrogacy for an about to be destroyed frozen embryo etc]

A certain Catholic Voice has recently participated in multiple conversations on various blogs regarding the Incrementalist vs Solidaritist positions [the Finnis vs Harte issue] regarding the meaning of article 73 of the Papal encyclical Evangelium Vitae
...and repeatedly cited 73.3 without mentioning 73.2 i.e. wilfully misrepresenting Catholic teaching on the issue.

Now these arguments involve Blessed John Paul II's inability to be technically precise when dealing with moral theological precepts and his existentialist habit of appealing to a moral dialectic where he would make two apparently contradictory statements from which a synthesised conclusion must be deduced or discerned; and a practical application deliberated.

Evangelium Vitae 73.2
 In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it".98

...forbids us from engaging in collaboration with legislation endorsing, advocating, promoting or furthering the culture of death - as these actions are intrinsically unjust.

BUT EV 73:3
A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations-particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation-there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects. 

...permits the use of every available moral means to diminish the negative affect of that legislation - even if it doesn't result in an absolute ban.

Now here's the crux : What is a moral means?

Is voting for an abortion-limit reduction which intrinsically allows early-term abortions - or exceptions or compromises [e.g. rape,incest, disability,health of mother] an acceptable [73.3] or an unacceptable [73.2] form of co-operation?

John Finnis argues by 73.3 a defence of the action saying voting is permissible as the situation is merely unjust - therefore restrictive voting is merely remote material co-operation - one is only responsible for the actual reduction involved in the legislation - and not responsible for anything else immoral within it.

Colin Harte argues by 73.2 that such a scenario is intrinsically unjust and therefore co-operation is either formal or at least [forbidden] proximate material. One IS responsible for what one puts one's name to - collaboration in the passing of a bill which reneges on the principle of solidarity [i.e. one where lives of differing worths/dignities are traded/negotiated] is always gravely immoral...

Who is right?
Well that's the fight!

Incrementalists say Finnis with his half loaf - any life which can be saved must be saved - paradigm - MUST be right.
Solidaritists [and I'm one of them] argue that the only way forward is the truly moral principle of no exception: no compromise]

Who is right?
Solidaritists are.

Who says so?
Surely this is an issue upon which the Vatican has not spoken and is therefore open to [as the CVeebies love to appeal to] Prudential Judgment? it isn't!

Because His Holiness Benedict XVI while Cardinal at the CDF has filled this loophole and given a direct answer on the issue,

10....When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician,

[here it comes - a direct precedential appeal]

...recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18)...[citing EV 73.3]

This DOES NOT MEAN that a MORE RESTRICTIVE LAW in this area could be considered JUST OR EVEN ACCEPTABLE; [alluding to EV73.2]

[This is the most crucial point - Moral Means  DO NOT INCLUDE Restrictive Legislation.
Restrictive legislation is here being prohibited - any other means to diminish the gravity of the unjust situation is permissible - i.e. partial repeals - but not restrictive legislation [i.e. that which intrinsically endorses an aspect of it within its legislation]
Partial repeals are of course acceptable - but they must not be within a legislative bill which continues to endorse an action. Irrespective of the ostensible benefits...]

 ...rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt [i.e. USING MORAL MEANS - P.] to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.

So Finnis is wrong regarding restrictive legislation [which is not acceptable]
Who says so?
Pope Benedict!!!

The Incrementalist position of negotiating/compromising/allowing exceptions via restrictive legislation is hereby being forbidden as [Intrinsically] Unjust & Unacceptable.

Will People kindly get this into their heads:
The WAR against the Culture of Death is actually a WAR...
Not a dialogue,
Not a debate,
Not an argument over any medical, biological, ethical or socio-cultural issues
It's WAR...
...and we're losing it!
...and what's worse is [well-meaning?] fifth-columnists within our ranks are sabotaging this fight with
the most ridiculously absurd 'sentimentalist' arguments that using such weapons as 'telling the truth' and 'representing the reality in its full technicolour depravity'...
...are sensationalist, counterproductively alienating and [the worst most vomit-inducing accusation of them all] fetishistically salaciously arousing different emotions like some snuff movie!!!!???

Peter Kreeft makes it categorically clear that one CANNOT WIN A WAR:
1.If you blissfully sew peace banners on the battlefield
2.If you do not know who you are fighting
3.If you do not know what kind of war you are fighting
4.If you do not know the basic rules of battle
5.If you do not know your enemy's battle plan
6.If you send your troops to the wrong battlefield
7.If you use the wrong weapons
8.If you do not know how to get the right weapon
9.If you are not confident of your inevitable victory.

...and certain self-apponted individuals are rapidly becoming Lord & Lady Haw-Haw's of the Pro-Life movement
- ludicrously counter-productive, counter-intuitive and countermanding
- these people are inadvertently our enemy's best weapon!!!
- because they are making every attempt to stop us fighting in an effective way
- and only permit us to fight in a " polite, sensitive, coldly unemotive, 'tolerant' way"
- which is tantamount to not only submission, defeat, formal & material co-operation by omission with this evil genocide - it is SUICIDE!!!!

The only defensible war is a war of defence - and the fight for Life is to defend Life - the prime objective is to stop the killing and THEN to make an ongoing [all-too-possibly-vainglorious] attempt to stop the killers wanting to be killers...We are fallen creatures - we will always want the easy way out - and when killing is readily available?

The WAR against the wilful genocide of the Unborn will not be won by those who prefer to represent this as a tragic reflection of a morally impoverished society who simply need re-educating or to be coerced with adverts of bouncing smiling infants with fluffy bunnies redolent of baby lotion campaign. Planned Parenthood utilise such imagery to cover up the satanic malevolence of their billion dollar plus business.

There's also a prevalence of an ideological pornography that
'no woman [or man] would seriously want to destroy a child if they were not absolutely forced into that decision by circumstances'
It a 'nice' optimistic idealistic hypothetical...but it's a lie.
Yes there are socio-economic restraints - yes there are counterproductive difficulties in continuing with pregnancies - yes there are those who feel they have no way out [aided and abetted by a society always readily willing to deny that their 'final solution' is a new 'Final Solution'] - but 1.76 BILLION unborn have not been mechanically massacred simply on the grounds that everyone involved
'felt they had no choice other than to make the choice'
It's a lie - this is not predominately about unwilling killers - but wilful murderers - be they individuals or states or social influences or ideologies.

This is a Spiritual war against evil and every available resource must be readily utilised lest we suffer the consequences of Our Lord saying to us on that final day
'Where were you when the least of my Brothers and Sisters needed you?'

One more thing - the jaw-dropping suggestion that the use of aborted foetal imagery to fight against this Genocide is some form of sensually-arousing snuff totemic fetishization of the issue has to be the most warped, mendacious notion I have ever heard - it fills me with such revulsion at its twisted misrepresentation that one can almost sniff the stench emanating from Satan's strategy room....

Over recent months and even the past few days there has been more vociferous opposition in the media and the blogs to the use of photos of aborted foetuses outside abortuaries...
By the Pro-Choice lobby?
No: Rather self-appointed 'Pro-Life' commentators who claim it's counterproductive - but ironically they then proceed to give reasons which seem to provide diammetrically opposing justification to disprove their claims....[e.g. the images cause distress!!!]

Now this opposition to the use of imagery  is becoming a widespread ideology amongst  well-meaning Pro-Lifers who are far from demure or reticent in opposing those who disagree with them
Hence I will re-post this blogpost from January as a message of support to those whom at present are enduring tongue-lashings and lambastings from people who claim to be on the same side!

Last October Peter D Williams argued in the Catholic Herald blogs that "Graphic images of abortion are profoundly counterproductive and damage the pro-life cause"

I cannot disagree more strongly with practically everything Peter said on the issue [a position which is becoming more habitual on almost every doctrinal/moral/political issue, but "c'est la guerre!"]

This was my response at the time and my position has since grown significantly more resolute - especially given the situation in Ireland with too many Irish Pro-Lifers claiming that using such photos is counter-productively provocative. They could not be more wrong - and dangerously so.

This is what happens when Pro-Life advocates don't have a sound understanding of fundamental moral theology. 
The use of aborted foetal imagery is an intrinsic moral disorder which scandalises and desecrates our deceased unborn neighbour. 
Its usage is normatively gravely sinful and is actually a ferendae sententiae canonical crime [in the 1917 canon it was actually an excommunicable offence to desecrate either a body or to abuse/violate their graphic image] 
Therefore it may ONLY be used in the condition of moral dilemma - the negative double effect - where one is confronted with a possibility to prevent a direct, grave objective evil occurring. 
Therefore in grave, direct, critical circumstances when an abortion is imminent IT IS PERMISSIBLE to use such imagery. 
The situation must be grave, intrinsically unjust and reactive. 

Now Mr Williams argues that the imagery does serve an effective purpose in other circumstances. e.g. in a voluntary academic or sub-political setting with advocacy towards abortion reduction and legalislative restriction. 
Now this invokes problems for Mr Williams in that he has, on the record, dismissed and denounced Colin Harte's Solidaritist position as naiive, ridiculous, stupid, misguided, untenable and even recently as 'unconscionable' 
- instead he chooses to side with John Finnis's position of Incrementalism and gradualism regarding abortion legislation. 

[n.b. For more information on the Incrementalist vs Solidaritist positions please read here]  

In order to do so Mr Williams must, with John Finnis, adopt the position of which proposes an INTERPRETATION of Evangelium Vitae 73.3 which they believe permits actions whereby voting for restrictive abortion legislation is merely remote material co-operation in an unjust law - one is only participating in the just parts of the legislation and one bears no culpability or responsibility for other unjust aspects of the bill. 

BUT in doing so this automatically NEGATES the permissibility for ever using aborted foetal photographs [note: not graphic representations] in political, educational or voluntary academic circumstances as participation in such circumstances is not confronting intrinsically unjust circumstances - merely unjust ones.
 ...and foetal photographs are expressly forbidden to be used in pro-active, non-grave circumstances where one is not confronting an intrinsically unjust circumstance. 

NOW: In order for foetal photographs to be used in such circumstances legislation, educational propaganda and pro-abortion activism MUST be deemed as intrinsically unjust - one must be resorting to the negative double-effect in moral dilemma to redress an objective evil 

But in Peter's own paradigm - those circumstances are merely unjust - not intrinsically unjust [otherwise Evangelium Vitae 73.2 would be introduced and prohibit participation in restrictive gradualist incrementalist legislation - something Peter not merely defends - but promotes while dismissing any other position as 'unconscionable'] 

a] Peter Williams is arguing that aborted foetal photographs SHOULD NOT be used where Catholic moral teaching says it is permissible to use them. &
b] That there are circumstances where they may be used - but Catholic moral teaching expressly forbids such usage IF Peter's incrementalist position is valid. 

Hoisted on one's own petard! 
By arguing that one is permitted to engage as an incrementalist in restrictive [non-solidaritist] abortion legislation with exceptions and compromises; One automatically negates the permissibility to ever use aborted foetal photographs while fighting abortion legislation or promoting common opposition to such laws in academia or the debating floors. 

Peter: Your very own principles prevent you from holding the position that they are ever acceptable in any circumstance. 
You declare they shouldn't be used is the only place in your moral framework where they are ever permissible to be used. 

Now - to get back to their usage outside an abortuary: 
Why shouldn't they be used? 
Peter makes the claim that women in crisis pregnancies are viscerally emotionally charged with heavily empathic 'right-brain' acuities which 'de-rationalises' their decision-making processes and the confrontation with aborted foetal imagery will lead to either nothing or might [I note the Vitae 'report' says 'probably'] lead to counterproductive hostility and an emotional backlash which will reinforce the determination to proceed with the abortion... 

Primarily the use of 'left brain/right brain' analogies is without any authentic scientific credence - there is no academic foundation for such propositions. That they are more open to empathic intensity axiomatically implies that they are more susceptible to such imagery and more likely to change their mind when confronted with it - not the reverse... 

Secondly where is the evidence for this 'counter-productive opposite effect' other than Vitae's reactional study/anecdotal 'research' performed in situations not involving women about to abort? 

Thirdly there is ground-based evidence that producing foetal imagery at that critical juncture has been effective - lives have been saved. 

Fourthly Peter is arguing that use of such imagery alienates other women whom are already pro-abortion but by such actions have their convictions intensified where gentle persuasion might have diminished them - but this is NOT the reason for their use outside an abortuary - they are guerrilla shock tactics aimed at convincing a woman about to abort that she will be murdering her child. 

I'm sorry Peter but yet again you're appealing to utilitarian principles. 
Whether or not society or pro-abortion campaigners are outraged at such tactics or become more belligerently hostile and the situation is aggravated by further accusations of bullying/intimidation/heartlessness doesn't matter!! 

That's not the point of the action in itself. 

The morality at issue is the desperate attempt to save a life at a critical juncture as a desperate final recourse at the eleventh hour to confront an expectant mother with the intended results of what she's about to do... 

 An action which is permissible in Catholic teaching 

Irrespective of the consequences - the resultant negative perception, the media backlash, the intensifying of pro-abortion campaigners and their mendacious propaganda - none of these matter and should NEVER be part of the discernment process and examination of conscience before the person making that attempt to save a life performs the action... 

We are NOT utilitarians 
You are arguing that aborted foetal photographs should not be used because: 

a] It's counterproductive and when it isn't utterly ineffective it actually makes the woman more resolute to continue with her abortion [because of the woman's addled cognitive functions [ aside - don't you think that's a little bit patronising and misogynistic?]] 

To which I say 
It might save lives - you have no substantive evidence to make such a claim of counterproductivity - and if it distresses those women who are about to abort or enrages those who are consciously choosing to abort without any moral reticence? 
Someone's just been murdered and your neighbour just tried to stop you from doing it... 

b] It has negative consequences for the Pro-Life movement/ 

To which I also say 
It's an irrelevance in regard to the morality of the single act which was a desperate attempt to save a single life. 
How many times do I have to repeat? 
Catholicism has no time for the Caiaphas corollary!!! 
Someone is trying to save a life - it is permissible to resort to such tactics - and let the world perish in fire and water before anyone has the right to say that the person has either done wrong or should not have made the attempt because of the awkward consequences for others.... 

Let right be done! 
And woe betide anyone who stands in Heaven's way by saying it shouldn't be!

  Opposing the use of foetal imagery against abortion is like going into battle with white flags and peace banners [my additional comments can be found in the comments box - in conclusion if you haven't seen this video - I strongly recommend you do]


ALDU said...

Yes, well said. You might like to look at for further reflections. The so called 'reduction' of time limits to 24 weeks in the 1990 Act was in fact an increase. This is in addition to the obvious increase to the date of birth for all other abortions - a form of barbarity never seen before in English law.

An important and crucial aspect that we need to understand in any consideration of an attempt to negotiate with our opponents is that they will not concede one iota of what they have.

Keep banging the drum - more power to your elbow.

Unknown said...

A very good article.However even if we did all that you suggest I still do not believe we will kill abortion. Indulge me by using the story of Beowolf as an analogy. In order to kill the monster we need to kill the mother that spawned it. Until people realise that it is a contraceptive mentality that permits abortion (and homosexuality)and we convert that mentality, people will still feel the need for 'safe' abortions